full life, even with exploding bananas‘ is an unlikely chapter title
from a book by Dr Jennifer Bute.
was one of four daughters born to a Baptist minister and his wife living
in Bedfordshire. When Jennifer was four years old her mother died
suddenly and she was sent, with her younger sister, to live temporarily
with her grandparents on the Isle of Wight before moving back to the
mainland. Through the separate experiences of a broken leg and having
appendicitis she developed an interest in studying medicine and went on
to gain a place at St. Bartholomew’s Hospital, London and an opportunity
to train in a hospital in Zululand Africa run by a Christian surgeon.
Working hard at university she gained a senior position in paediatrics.
At this time, and in an unusual way, she met Stanley the man who would
become her husband. After living in the New Forest they moved to
Southampton. In Southampton, Stanley became senior social services
manager and Jennifer became the executive partner of one the largest
general practices in the city serving 14,000 patients and also became a
Fellow of the Royal College of General Practitioners. Jennifer’s book
describes the ups and downs of their busy lives and achievements - too
many to include here - and all the while emphasizing their trust and
dependence on God…… and then Jennifer realised that she was developing
dementia. Her book then goes on to describe her diagnosis and her
feelings and challenges with the insight provided by her medical
background. She describes her difficulties, coping strategies and
experiences as a patient.
the end of the book she also relates the experiences of others with
dementia and devotes time to explain how people with dementia can be
helped. At one point she even says her dementia has proved to be ‘a
glorious opportunity’ to help others! Throughout the book she explains
the relevance and support of her Christian faith and her dependence on
God in all circumstances. She also includes passages of Bible scripture
that speak to situations she has encountered. Two examples of these
Proverbs 19:21 which says ’Many are the plans in a person’s heart,
but it is the Lord’s purpose that prevails’ (NIV) and
Proverbs 5:21 which says ‘For your ways are in full view of the Lord,
and He examines all your paths‘ (NIV). God is aware of hazards ahead
in life and He is there watching over us.
This is a
remarkable book describing a busy life filled with high achievements but
starting with difficult circumstances and not without setbacks but
always lived out with generosity, optimism and unfailing faith in God…
and yes, there are exploding bananas!
From The Inside - a doctor’s personal journey of hope‘ by Dr
Jennifer Bute with Louise Morse £9.99